Metrum and MHDT are NOS Dacs, which IMO, reproduce very organic sonics.
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I'm in a similar boat, thinking about adding a DAC to the Bluesound Node 2 in my bedroom. I can use the DAC in my Oppo 105D, but would like something that doesn't involve turning on the TV and having to change inputs on the Oppo (yes, I'm THAT lazy).
Not new to DACs, I have a Mytek Liberty, Wyred 4 Sound DAC 2, Auralic Vega, Sony TA-ZH1ES headphone amp/DAC, Oppo 105D, and have had the Oppo HA1 and assorted integrates with nice DACs (Peachtree Nova 300, Peachtree Grand Integrated X-1).
The Vega is hands down the best of the bunch. I like the Mytek a lot, but I think I'd like it more if it was just a little less "clinical". The Wyred 4 Sound DAC is also pretty neutral, perhaps even a little on the "bright" side.
I'd like something that's a bit warmer. The DAC in the Sony TA-ZH1ES and the Vega have a sound I really like.
The Orchid caught my eye as it sounds like it's a bit warmer and "lush" and I'd love to hear what others who have heard one think about it.
I love and have had Metrum DACs for years, but I would also love to try the border patrol DAC which comes up used in your price range sometimes. I recommend the coax SPDIF connection at that price point because adding all the USB reclockers and their power supplies adds up! I actually prefer the coax into my Onyx DAC over USB from my SOtM Roon endpoint. You have loads of choices these days...
I would think that your Exposure/Harbeth combo is somewhat musical, being somewhat warm vs. cooler or analytical. The choice of DAC should be made based on which way you want to take your system. The MHDT and Border Patrol DACs are also toward the warm side while DACs such as the Benchmark or Bryston tend the other way. Perhaps a DAC that is known to be more neutral might be in order?
There are many quality DACs, new or used, that would well serve your system priced within your budget.
There are so many good, reasonably priced DACs around. If you want a natural, analogue sound, then Metrum is hard to beat. I recently replaced my Ayre QB9 DAC for a Metrum Octave at a fraction of the price and it is excellent.
If you want a more dynamic, detailed sound, then Chord is where I would go, the 2Qute second hand or the new Qutest, are really excellent I was going for the Qutest till I listened to the Octave. They aren't really better or worse than each other, just very different.
DACs not yet mentioned from iFi Audio and Project , could be used. One that I would avoid in that price range is Arcam
if you could stretch the budget to $2K, then a world of great DACs becomes available, ones that you may never feel the need to upgrade from. So as this is your first DAC, I would spend as little as possible and see how you like world of Computer Audio. If you then want to do a major upgrade in the future, I would suggest budgeting around 2K